Most women with hepatitis will have a normal pregnancy, but the physical process of pregnancy can put added strain on a woman's liver. For a few women, this may lead to complications or health concerns during pregnancy and can include:
About 6% of women with hepatitis can develop gallstones (or cholelithiasis) during their pregnancy. This may present as abdominal pain and sometimes as jaundice. The women may need an operation to remove the gallstones if they do not pass naturally into the bowel. This will depend on the severity of the condition and the risk of miscarriage or premature birth.
A few women may be at increased risk of developing cholestasis of pregnancy. This condition is characterised by itching of the skin, especially the hands and feet.
Acute fatty liver of pregnancy
Although rare, hepatitis can predispose a few women to this life-threatening condition. It may require delivering the baby prematurely and possible treatment of the woman in an intensive care facility.
If a pregnant woman becomes very unwell before the birth of her baby, the baby may also be unwell and can, in some cases, be stillborn.
However, most women normally recover quickly after the baby is born.